The Paddle Plant ‘Kalanchoe Luciae’

Kalanchoe Luciae Image

Kalanchoe Luciae is also called Paddle Plant or Flapjack Succulent, thanks to the claim-like structure of the leaves. This houseplant does not require much maintenance, and you can plant it outdoors under the right weather conditions. The Flapjack plant is drought-tolerant so that you can grow it in hot and dry regions.

Perhaps, the most impressive feature of the Kalanchoe Luciae plant is the yellow-shaded flowers and the plump, thick leaves it produces during the spring.

In this post, we will cover the origin, growing and propagation tips for the Kalanchoe Luciae succulents.

  • Other Names: Paddle Plant, Flapjack Succulent.
  • Sunlight: bright light, little or partial shade.
  • Watering: Minimum water use to avoid overwatering.
  • Temperature: 18°C to 24°C.
  • Growth Season: Spring/Summer.
  • Propagation: easily propagated from leaf cuttings.
  • Height: 2 feet when fully mature.

Introduction To Kalanchoe Luciae

Kalanchoe Luciae belongs to the Crassulaceae family. While it is native to South Africa, it is predominant in Cyprus, Malaysia, and Madagascar.

The origin of the name “Kalanchoe Luciae” is a bit unclear, as some people believe it was coined from the Chinese words “Kalan Chauhuy”, which loosely means “something that falls and grows”. The rationale behind this is that the shedding of leaves is common to many succulents, including the Kalanchoe Luciae.

Another suggestion is that the name “Kalanchoe Luciae” originates from the ancient Indian words “Kalanka” and “Chaya”, which means “spot” and “glossy,” respectively. When you consider the appearance of the Flapjack succulent, this suggestion makes sense.

Some succulent growers believe that “Luciae” was named after Mademoiselle Lucy Dufour, a French botanist who was the first to write about this succulent as far back as 1908.

But, perhaps, the most reasonable explanation for the word “Luciae” is that it refers to Saint Lucia Park, a location in South Africa where Kalanchoe Luciae is most prevalent.

kalanchoe luciae
By Frank Vincentz – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia

The plant forms a rosette cluster of round, plump leaves with red edges. This is why Kalanchoe Luciae is sometimes called Red Pancake.

The succulent can grow as high as 1.3m, with its leaves facing upward and standing erect without petioles. The sweetly scented flowers start developing from February to June and will remain until the entire plant dies.

Cultivars

Kalanchoe Luciae has 2 common cultivars. These are Kalanchoe Luciae ‘Fantastic’ and Kalanchoe Luciae ‘Oricula’.

Kalanchoe Luciae ‘Fantastic’ is also known as a variegated paddle plant. This plant is rare and has an attractive appearance. It can grow up to 2 feet tall and has colorful yellow, red, and green leaves. The red edges of the leaves add character to the succulent.

On the other hand, Kalanchoe Luciae ‘Oricula’ is a cultivar with attractive leaves arranged in rosettes. Like Kalanchoe Luciae ‘Fantastic’, this cultivar can grow up to 2 feet tall. The difference is the leaves are curled back round and are up to 6 inches long. Same colorful hue pr yellow and green with vibrant red margins.  The colors of this succulent pop, especially during the color season.

Both cultivars have drought resistance. It doesn’t also harm your plants to water as needed. Ensure you let it dry appropriately after watering and using a proper pot with enough drainage holes and well-draining soil.

flapjack plant
By Mokkie – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia

Growing the Kalanchoe Luciae Plant

Kalanchoe Luciae succulents require soil with good drainage to grow. If you cannot provide partial shade for the plant, exposing it to direct sunlight will not be disastrous. But ensure the environment’s temperature does not go below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can grow the Flapjack plant indoors or outdoors. Also, you can pair this plant with Aloes, Echeverias, and other succulents that form rosettes.

For your paddle plant to thrive, it needs at least six hours of sunlight daily. If the succulent gets sunlight, its leaves will appear red. But then, you need to shade the plant during the hottest day. As mentioned above, partial shade is sufficient for the paddle plant to grow. Providing full shade might cause the succulent to stretch out in the direction of sunlight, gradually leading to its death.

Spring and summer are the best time to add fertilizers The Flapjack plant grows slowly, so adding fertilizers might speed things up. But, ensure you do not add too many fertilizers; otherwise, the plant will grow out of proportion. Experienced succulent growers suggest you use half of the quantity recommended by fertilizer producers. Also, ensure you use a fertilizer specially formulated for succulents.

You should bear in mind that Kalanchoe Luciae is a monocarpic plant. This means that the parent succulent will dry up and die to signify the end of a flowering season. When this occurs, ensure you replant the small offsets in a new pot because no more nutrients will be left in the old pot.

In terms of pruning, your Kalanchoe Luciae doesn’t need much. You only need to prune your succulent to maintain its size and shape. It is also a good practice to remove dead leaves to avoid any spread of an infestation. When pruning, use clean and sharp scissors to do the work properly.

How To Water The Kalanchoe Luciae Plant

Kalanchoe Luciae is a drought-tolerant plant that can survive for a long time without water. But ensure you water it from time to time. If you are busy, travel often, or forget to water your plants, the Flapjack succulent is the best option.

The best watering technique for the Flapjack plant is the “soak and dry” method, which allows the soil to dry out totally before resuming watering.

If this succulent sits in soil with poor drainage, the roots will rot after a short while.

During the winter, you should only water the plant when the leaves look dehydrated. The plant is dormant during this period, and watering excessively will cause it to grow out of proportion.

You can add a small layer of gravel to the soil to control the temperature, drainage rate, and moisture intake. But ensure the gravels do not touch the stem of the succulent to prevent the transfer of heat.

How To Propagate Kalanchoe Luciae

Once the Kalanchoe Luciae succulent starts producing flowers, it has come to the end of its growth cycle. But before the plant dies, you can replant the baby succulents in a new pot. In essence, replanting the offsets is the simplest way of propagating the Kalanchoe Luciae succulent.

You can also propagate the Kalanchoe Luciae plant from leaf cuttings. The best time for this propagation technique is during the spring and summer.

Use a disinfected knife to cut off a whole leaf, and keep it in a dry place for three or four days to dry. Once the cuttings are dry, you can put them on well-drained soil and give it a few weeks for roots to develop.

The third way of propagating the Kalanchoe Luciae plant is by planting the seeds in the potting mix. But before you plant the seeds, treat them with a fungicide to prevent fungi attacks.

Whichever propagation method you choose, ensure the soil is always moist until your plant acclimatizes to its new home. If the soil is soggy, the possibility of root rot is pretty high. Once the new plants develop, you can water them like mature succulents.

Kalanchoe Luciae vs. Thyrsiflora

People often confuse these two succulents because they share some characteristics and belong to the same genus. The main challenge, though, is when some nurseries interchange the two. Both of them have bold, fleshy leaves with a fresh pancake appearance. There are differences in coloration between the two, but these can also be confusing because Luciae and Thyrsiflora leave develop different colors depending on their growing conditions.

Kalanchoe Luciae is more common and has more giant leaves than thyrsiflora. It also has rather pale leaves. Kalanchoe thyrsiflora has smaller leaves that, though broad and pancake-like, are also a little cupped. Thyrsiflora’s leaves are either green or white and have a white waxy coating.

Kalanchoe Luciae’s leaves usually develop a pink or reddish margin on the leave’s edges and are thus more colorful, unlike thyrsiflora, which is rather plain. The colored margin on these leaves gets more pronounced as the plant gets exposed to more sunlight.

The other distinguishing feature between these related plants is their flowers flower towards the end of winter and at the beginning of spring. However, flowering for both of them is not automatic; they need to have been protected from the cold in winter and provided with sufficient light. Lucia’s flower’s color ranges from white to pale yellow, while thyrsiflora flowers are bright yellow, with broadly undivided petals. Thrysiflora’s flowers are heavily fragrant, unlike Luciae’s flowers, which don’t have a noticeable smell.

Pests and Diseases

Succulent care, in general, requires some effort and practice. Make sure that you avoid overwatering your succulents to prevent any diseases. Bright light is also recommended, but just in case instances won’t allow it, here are some common pests and diseases to watch out for. Check your Kalanchoe Luciae for any aphids, scale insects, mealybugs, and caterpillars. Most of these pests are sap-sucking pests that feed on your succulents’ nutrients. You may remove these pests using your hands, or you may also spray on some solutions. Just note that you should avoid using any potent insecticide as it might do more harm to your succulents.

In terms of diseases, common fungi that affect your Kalanchoe Luciae are root rot, bacterial diseases, and powdery mildew. Check on your succulents occasionally, and watch for any discoloration or gray or powdery substance covering the flowers, leaves, and stems.

A Few Last Lines

The scented flowers and beautiful leaves of the Kalanchoe Luciae plant make it a perfect choice for indoor and outdoor gardens. The only thing you need to grow this plant is water and sunlight. While the Flapjack succulent is toxic to pets and kids, snails, and slugs feed on it. So, if growing outdoors, you might want to keep an eye on the plant.

Succulent City chief editor

ABOUT ME

Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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Posted in Succulents